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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

49ers run defense keeps Saquon Barkley-less Giants in check

Sep 27, 2020 at 5:40 PM--

With a couple of notable exceptions, the San Francisco 49ers stifled the New York Giants on the ground Sunday, which played a big role in the team's 36-9 blowout win at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The 49ers held the Giants to 66 yards on 15 carries, with 49 of those yards coming on runs from quarterback Daniel Jones. It was part of a dominant effort overall that saw the 49ers hold the Giants to 231 total yards while limiting them to 13 first downs and preventing them from running a single play in the red zone.

"I think it's all about just everybody doing their job," 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said after the win. "With the run game, it's all about a mindset knowing that you want to come out and you want to attack -- just attack their offense. I think the big boys up front did an outstanding job."

Of course, the Giants were not at all helped by the fact they were without standout running back Saquon Barkley, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in last week's 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. The Giants had to make do with the recently-signed Devonta Freeman, who had 10 yards on five carries; Wayne Gallman, who had seven yards on four carries; and Dion Lewis, who had zero yards on one carry.

It's clear the Giants missed Barkley, but head coach Joe Judge wasn't about to use it as an excuse following the game.

"We have players. We have players," Judge said, per Giants.com. "Obviously we don't want any of our players injured. But we have players in a position right now on our roster, on our team, that were on that field today that can help us win games. So, we got to make sure that everyone coaches better, we have to raise our level of play, and we got to take advantage of opportunities and not make mistakes that put us behind."

The 49ers may wish they had the plays back on which Jones broke free for big gains, but they stopped him when it mattered most -- a fourth-and-one carry when the Giants decided to go for a first down deep in their own territory trailing 23-9 late in the third quarter. The 49ers scored quickly after that stop, putting the game out of reach early in the fourth.

"That's the best call we thought was in our plan right there," Judge said. "So, they made a play, we've got to go ahead and make the play."

Barkley or no Barkley, the 49ers defense will find much to like about what it did against the Giants on Sunday, especially after playing without some key players such as defensive end Nick Bosa, who was lost to a torn ACL in a win over the Jets last week.

"I'm excited to watch the tape and see how guys were disrupting things," Warner said. "They got some off-schedule stuff with the quarterback runs but we made some adjustments to stop that in the second half."

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